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Wednesday, 26 April 1961

Mr Swartz z asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -

1.   Is any change contemplated in the functions of the International Wool Secretariat following the recent decision of South Africa to withdraw from the Commonwealth of Nations?

2.   What are the principal instruments used by the secretariat to promote the use of wool?

3.   In what way does the secretariat co-operate with the Wool Bureau Incorporated of New York?

Mr Adermann - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   No.

2.   The International Wool Secretariat promotion media include - Articles and advertising material in a very wide range of important newspapers and magazines. Promotion activities in merchandising channels and displays. Television is also used, but to a rather limited extent by reason of the very high cost of really extensive use of this medium.

3.   The Wool Bureau Incorporated, in the United States, is actually a part of the International Wool Secretariat and operates accordingly.

Use of Hormones in Cattle.

Mr Swartz z asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -

1.   Have hormones been used experimentally to improve weights of store cattle?

2.   If so, has any real improvement been recorded and does the use of hormones affect the consumer quality of beef?

Mr Adermann - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   I am informed that since 19SS Australian beef research workers have conducted upwards of 60 trials on the growth-stimulating effects on beef steers of certain hormones. I understand that since 195 7 attention has been focused on trials with a hormone called hexoestrol because overseas results have tended u> indicate that steer growth responds to it more favorably, both in terms of weight gains and fat coverage, than to other growth stimulating hormones and that, as far as it has been possible to judge, early Australian experiments have not contradicted the overseas experience. I believe it has been established that cattle in backward to average store condition do not respond as well to hexoestrol aa cattle in more forward condition.

2.   Trials have been conducted with hexoestrol in Australia in various sets of conditions. The variations have apparently made it difficult to abstract precise general conclusions from the work as a whole. However, it is stated that the general pattern has been one of improvement in the rate of live weight gain in the treated beasts as a result of the production of lean meat rather than fat. There are also noticeable changes in conformation. I am informed that overseas there has been some reaction against the use of hormones on the grounds of public health, but that it is too early so far as Australia is concerned to give a considered opinion on the matter.

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